Actually I’m not exactly sure how many people in my Hong Kong friend circle are left because it keeps increasing and decreasing at random. Sometimes due to other members travelling, sometimes to new people joining up. Such as Tim’s local friends from HK like Sam and Brian and then they invite their friends to come spend time with us too.
So now Sharon Chen is leaving tomorrow morning to go to Shanghai before she heads home to the States. I’m the next one slated to leave on August 2nd so I only have what I think to be nine days left here. Things are definitely starting to feel bittersweet.
Unfortunately I can’t update my tumblr as often as I’d like in Tokyo as there is only one LAN cable per room and I’m sharing with my cousin. Not to mention that the connection is rather horrid and keeps cutting out in the middle of a photo upload.
I’ll keep trying to update every day but if not, a photo spam session when I get back to Hong Kong will occur.
This afternoon Jacky, another Jacky (seriously another name doppelganger?), Tim, and I went to Shek O beach and blatantly disregarded the Level 1 typhoon warnings. I actually learned the other day that a typhoon is actually another word for a cyclone and not actually just a really bad thunderstorm. Sounds pretty intimidating right?
However when we got to the beach it was still sunny and warm outside so I was looking forward to spending a nice afternoon there. I have to say, I personally feel a little awkward when wearing a bikini because I’m not entirely confident with my body. But then again, I don’t think many people are. We rented some floaty water mattresses and paddled out into the ocean. I haven’t actually been swimming in the ocean for a while so it was a new experience. Tim and doppelganger Jacky (or Jacky L) shared one while other Jacky and I had the other.
There were some pretty big ocean swells today especially once the storm began to close in. We ended up capsizing quite a few times but at least we weren’t too far out into the water. However one time I hit my knee pretty hard on the sand so now I have a scrape on my left knee. Feels just like kindergarten all over again.
At times, I kept forgetting that I was in salt water so I’d rub my eyes and they would sting a little from the salt content. When I mentioned “Bah, I feel so salty” to Jacky, he replied with “What? Losing to scrubs at the beach?” I’ll admit, I laughed.
After a while of swimming and riding the waves, we went back and chilled on the sand until it really started to pour. Everyone cleared out pretty fast because the clouds had turned dark grey and there were some ominous rumbling sounds coming from them. We quickly got changed and headed to the bus stop to go back to the city.
We ended up going back to Kowloon Bay (where there is a Soul Calibur machine!) and had dinner there with Sharon C. The other Jacky had to leave us to have dinner with another group of friends. Afterwards we degenned in the arcade for a little while and I actually encountered other SC players who could beat me this time! Of course, I still had the majority of wins so I’m happy with that. I still need to get used to using a stick for inputting moves.
Currently reading this. A classmate who has a good taste in books lent it to me because I won’t shut up and stop asking her about this. XD She’s not much of a talker so perhaps she deemed it wise to just give me the book to end my curious ramblings. :) I haven’t gotten so far yet because of all the school thingy but I liked what I read. So much happened already in just a few pages.
Oh I hope you enjoy the book! I loved Pillars of the Earth as well as World Without End which is the sequel. So if you like Pillars, definitely check out the other one as well!
A lot happened yesterday in Macau but like Vegas, much of it will stay there. Here’s a rundown of what occurred with what may be minimal elaboration.
- Went to Macau with Kevin, Jacky, and Brian. Tim and Geoffrey arrived later in the afternoon because they had classes. The ferry ride was pretty smooth so it was nice chatting with them.
- All the boys went Go-Karting while I watched and cheered them on.
- Explored the City of Dreams hotel and casino. Kevin and Geoffrey both played poker with $500HK buy-ins (that’s about $63CDN). Kevin lost all his money but Geoffrey won $1200!
- Went to the Usher concert. I felt like I was listening to the soundtrack from my grade 7 dances. I was really impressed with Usher’s live singing because it sounded amazing even though I knew he was tired out from dancing. On that note, the dancing was also fantastic!
- Went back to the Venetian casino and I played blackjack and doubled up my money! I’m now up by $200HK!
- Ferry debacle. The purchase of the Usher tickets also came along with 2 ferry vouchers so we could redeem them instead of having to pay extra for the ferry rides back and forth. However after the concert all the ferry seats were booked up for the 1AM - 5AM ferries so the only option left was the 7AM one. Kevin had to get back to Hong Kong earlier because he had a flight to catch in the morning. My aunt was also concerned so we decided to purchase ferry tickets for the 1:30AM ferry back on a different ferry company. Definitely should have booked the ferry back earlier.
- On the ferry ride back we all discussed if we ever wanted to meet up in the future and where. Collective agreement for meeting up, but not on where. It was suggested that we go to Mexico for Spring Break but our breaks are different from universities in the States. Jacky and some of his friends from Edmonton are going to Montana in December to go snowboarding. I’m sure we’ll work something out!
- Finally back in Hong Kong, I had to give Kevin a big hug before he left. I hope he has a safe flight home and keeps in touch with us all! When I woke up this morning there was a text message from him so it made me smile. I really hope he enjoyed his last day in Hong Kong with us even though he lost money at the casino. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up again some time in the future.
I’m sad that the Netherlands lost to Spain but at least I had a good night out on the town. I can safely say that I’ve never spent more time in arcades then I have this week. Last night we hit two in order to kill time between eating dinner and going to the bar at 12:30AM. Along with Jacky and Brian C, we finally beat the Bishi Bashi tower game!
Oddly enough, there has been a doppelganger effect in terms of repeated names in our group. At the moment there are 2 Kevin’s, 2 Brian’s, 2 Sharon’s, and 2 Andrew’s. It gets a little confusing at times, especially last night when trying to call out to someone in particular. Going to see the game with 13 others was a fun experience especially since our group was almost split even for who we were cheering for. Drinking games were played for those who drank and the rest of us just chatted over the loud music.
Brian C, Sam, and the two Andrew’s are all locals from Hong Kong. Brian C. and Sam both speak English fairly well but this was the first time I met both Andrew’s so I was unsure. However right as Kevin (my cousin) and I left to take a taxi back home, we saw him on his own at the bus stop and he started speaking in English to us. I was so surprised because he had been so quiet throughout the night!
We all stayed up together until the end of the game and went to find a McDonald’s to sit in until the MTR opened up at 6AM. I’m determined that I’ll stay up late again some other night to watch the sunrise. Perhaps from the ferry pier at TST or up on the peak if possible. Maybe even the beach?
Today marks exactly 3 weeks until my adventure here finishes so I’m feeling a little sad. Kevin Li leaves on Wednesday morning and then Sharon C will be the next to leave before I do. I’m going to make sure that I make the most of the rest of the time I have here.
This is the third time I’ve had one in Hong Kong but they are so much fun. Tonight we argued about gun legislation, WWII, and the whole idea of “ignorance is bliss” again.
Earlier Jacky, Tim, Brian, and I went to see Triple Tap which is cop story based in Hong Kong. It was rather terrible and I would not recommend it to anyone. Lots of laughs were gained from it though and I was able to try out the sweet popcorn! It’s just caramel popcorn but it isn’t as good as the stuff I’ve had from Kernels before. I think I prefer salty popcorn over sweet when watching a movie though.
These are my two biggest weaknesses. If you can bake me a cake and follow up with a massage then I am one happy girl. I’m pretty simple in that sense because I don’t require fancy things to make me smile.
After eating dim sum with my family today my uncle Mike, aunt Amy, aunt Jenna, Kevin, and I traveled up to China to go to spa that Mike and Amy frequent. Unfortunately we could not drive all the way up into China because uncle Mike doesn’t have a China license plate. Apparently they are quite expensive to get so we just parked at the border and took a bus that crossed over and dropped us off on the other side.
I don’t know the name of the spa we went to today but it is really well known and popular with both residents of China and Hong Kong. So popular that they have a car ferrying service right from the bus terminal that you arrive at when crossing over into China.
Upon arriving at the spa, we were greeted by a line of the staff wearing various World Cup jerseys. Aunt Amy, Jenna, and I split up from the boys and were ushered into the female locker/shower/sauna/omg there was everything here room. I wasn’t able to take any photographs here so I’ll do my best to describe this place.
The lights were dimmed in the locker room and the floor was tiled in what looked to be granite but probably wasn’t. The walls encasing the lockers were wooden and all along the edges of the room were narrow channels of white pebbles and flowers. When we signed into the spa we were each individually given bracelets with an assigned number. The attendants in the locker room actually knew aunt Amy by name since she and my uncle go there so often. To open the lockers the attendants hold their own bracelets in front of this electronic scanner and then we scan our own. I thought this was pretty neat because it got rid of the need to carry a set of keys around.
After changing into a pair of the spa’s flip flops I was given a towel and told to change out of my clothes. Mind you, most of the attendants here spoke Mandarin only so I had to wait until one of my aunts translated the instructions for me. Very few of them speak Cantonese but apparently all of them at least understand it. Kind of like how I can understand most Cantonese but cannot speak it very well.
Trying to wrap the towel around myself in such a way that it didn’t fall off was more difficult than it should have been. But afterwards we were guided towards some private showers so we could rinse off all the sweat accumulated from our cross border journey. I was also given a set of pink asian inspired clothing to wear so it isn’t like that towel was useful for very long. The spa uniform was rather comfortable and felt like a pair of PJs.
After exiting the change room you enter a small area where you can get your hair washed, cut, and styled. Walking up a spiraling white staircase leads you to a floor with a restaurant and these individual reclining chairs.
Now these chairs really deserve their own paragraph of description. There is a towel neatly folded on the seat so if you feel chilly you can snuggle under it as a blanket. There is also a table beside each set of two chairs that has a button to call a staff member to attend you as well as simple necessities such as Kleenex and Q-Tips. While sitting here, you can call upon a staff member to order a foot or shoulder rub, a manicure, a scalp massage, etc. Drinks such as cold lemon tea, soda, can be ordered as well as sliced fruit or sandwiches. Whenever you order a refreshment or a spa service, the staff take down your bracelet number and everything is charged to your account. However the best part is the individual TV you get! The screens are attached to a movable arm that you can swing in front of your face so you can watch TV while you get your feet rubbed and snack on some fruit.
I didn’t actually stay in this area for long. In fact, I only sat here after the full body massage and hot stone treatment that my aunts and I had. I’m so glad that we had a guide to lead us to the massage room because this place is laid out like a maze. Honestly, I was amazed to see how large this place was because I’ve never been in a spa of this size before. The one I go to with my mom in Markham is a tiny day spa.
We were led down a series of hallways that all looked the same, onto an elevator, and then another set of hallways. Finally we arrived at a dim room with three massage beds. Aunt Amy explained that a lot of people fall asleep during their massages and so if you want to continue napping after the session, you can continue to sleep in that room. However the doors here have no locks so she demonstrated with a tiny little basket that you can put all your belongings into it and then stick it in the hole where your face goes during your massages and place a pillow on top. That way no one can sneak in and steal your cell phone or jewellery!
We only waited for about 10 minutes before the three masseuses arrived. One was carrying a rice pot and we were all confused as to what its presence meant. However once it was plugged in and the stones were placed inside, it all made sense. My aunt Jenna whispered to me that she thought we were getting a free snack or something of the sort.
So, I’ve never had a full body massage before and there was some slight apprehension as I lay down on the table. Even more so because I heard my aunts and the attendants speaking Mandarin and I couldn’t follow along. Luckily for me, the one lady I got was able to speak Cantonese fluently too (even if I can’t). Hilariously enough, she thought I was Korean instead of Chinese. When I asked her why she thought that, she said that it had to do with my eyes.
During the massage I tried to keep up a conversation with her but it was rather difficult. Mostly she asked me questions about myself and Toronto and I gave her really basic answers since I have a hard time conversing in Cantonese. She even asked me if I had any boys interested in me back home and then looked over to my aunts and whispered “Oh they’re asleep so you can tell me in case you get into trouble!” She was a little disappointed when I told her that there was nothing for her to be excited over concerning that.
The massage itself was really relaxing except for the couple times I giggled because I am extremely ticklish. She was using massage oil and because I’m a nerd, the image of Hakan from SSFIV sprung into my head for a second and I gave a silent chuckle.
Only in the latter half of the massage did the attendant start using the hot stones. (Also, it is terrible that I never asked her name? I totally slipped my mind and knowing me, I probably wouldn’t have been able to pronounce it properly anyway.) Initially I thought the stones were going to be too hot but it was okay. The masseuse moved them quickly so that my skin didn’t get overly warm and the heat dissipated more quickly than I thought it would. It felt really nice because they glided along the oil and made it feel quite comfortable. Who knew getting stones rubbed on your body could feel so good?
After the massage session the attendant complimented my figure and said I had a really cute butt haha. I wandered downstairas and went to sit with Kevin in one of those reclining chairs for an hour while we waited for everyone else to finish whatever other services they ordered. Going back to the change rooms I was able to take a shower again and I rather enjoyed the waterfall-like shower head they had. I think I’ll ask my dad if we can install one of these at home!
The most astonishing fact about this day is that all of the services that we all received plus refreshments added up to roughly $60CDN per person! I somehow feel like I’m cheating these people out of money because it is so cheap. Nonetheless, I’ll definitely come back here. Definitely getting a foot massage next time!